I’ve been a Joss Whedon fan ever since the 1992 movie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Buffy, played by Kristy Swanson, snapped at her Watcher, “Does the word ‘duh’ mean anything to you?” Since then, he’s developed television shows, movies, comic books, and web series, which has earned him the adulation of his many fans. Now, after the success of The Avengers, he’s recently been put in charge of an upcoming ABC superhero show for Marvel Studios. (Oh yeah, and Avengers 2.)
We know almost nothing about the television show, except what Marvel has already told us, which is next to nothing. This means Joss may (or may not) cull characters from an existing superhero team, or he may (or may not) use characters he created. (I speculate that it’s a combination of both, as with Smallville. In fact, my spider-sense is telling me that Marvel hopes to surpass the ten-season success of the WB series.)
But if past performance guarantees future results, I can tell you what to expect from the upcoming television series, based on what I know about the work of Joss Whedon.
He will have an ensemble cast.
If Joss succeeded with The Avengers, it’s because he has experience fitting a super-sized cast into a group of team players. Although Joss’ previous shows (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse) have focused on one main character (Buffy, Angel, Mal, Echo), every supporting character is as real and fleshed out as the ostensible protagonist.
In other words, Firefly was as much about the crew as much as about Serenity’s captain, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer could have just as easily been called The Chosen One and Her Friends.
He will kill people. A lot.
Joss is a serial killer. He only gets away with it because they’re fictional characters that he himself has created. But if your only exposure to his work is the 2012 movie The Avengers, you may not realize that in every show he’s ever helmed, Joss has killed (even maimed) some of his most likeable characters in order to create tension, to raise the stakes, and to generally keep it real. He did it in The Avengers too, a shocking, sudden death that gave the survivors motivation to continue fighting. (Because I’m a Joss fan, I totally called it, here.)
“But,” I hear you thinking, “he can’t kill off Marvel property. Marvel won’t allow it.” However, Marvel famously has alternate continuities. For example, Peter Parker is alive and well in the Amazing Spider-Man, but in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Peter is dead, and a boy named Miles Morales has taken his place.
In this upcoming television show, I don’t who will die or how. I don’t know if it’ll happen in season one or season three, when you’re relaxed and off your guard. I only know that the character will be likeable and this death will hurt.
But only Joss (along with George R.R. Martin, a la Game of Thrones) can make it hurt so good.